Skippers proudest moment

Captain Jason Shackell declared promotion to the Premier League as his best moment in football.

Tuesday, 22nd April 2014, 6:00 pm
Jason Shackell celebrates promotion with leading scorer Danny Ings and Brian Stock

The skipper, ever-present for Burnley this season, has seen this all before, with Norwich City and Wolves, but admits the Clarets’ achievement can’t be topped.

The 30-year-old feels the squad have beaten the odds, in terms of resources other clubs in the Championship can boast, and he said: “It’s been my biggest involvement, I’ve played every game so far this season, so for me personally this is the best one (promotion) by far.

“It’s been incredible.

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“You see some of the clubs and the money they’ve spent, to do it with such a small squad on a fairly tight budget is an incredible achievement.

“I can’t give the gaffer and staff enough credit. They’ve been brilliant, and the lads again have been absolutely magnificent.

“We’ve had a bit of luck at times and we’ve stayed fit, which is what you need, but the lads have worked so hard day in day out and now we are reaping the rewards.”

Shackell pointed to the group’s togetherness as a key factor: “We’ve got such a small squad, the lads all fight for each other, we’ve done it all year.

“We stay together. People have doubted us from the outside so that’s maybe galvanised us a little bit more. The lads will always have each other’s backs and I think that’s shone on a few occasions.

“It’s been brilliant.”

And he was a proud man after leading this group of players back to the top flight, something he always believed they were capable of achieving: “It’s unreal, it’s been an incredible season and to finish it off is unbelievable.

“The lads are buzzing. It’s a great feeling and now we can really enjoy all the hard work we put in over the last few months.

“From day one we knew we were a good team and a good squad and then the results started coming and that just breeds confidence.

“We grew and grew and now we can reap the rewards.

“The gaffer gets us working day in day out and the lads have really bought into what he wanted and what he believes and we’ve been a real tight knit group from the start.

“We’ve kicked on and got some really good results and kept it going all the way through.

“We lost a few players in the summer but brought in some really good players, and the lads who were already here stepped it up again. Everybody’s played their part and it’s been phenomenal.”

But he isn’t resting on his laurels ahead of a tough new challenge: “We’ll grow together again.

“Next season we’ll have to push on again, it will be a tough challenge but one we’re looking forward to.

“I think it’s going to take a bit of time to take it all in and enjoy it.

“I’m sure it will come to a time in the next few weeks or month or so when we’ll get our head down and get back to working and focusing on next year.

“But for now we’ll enjoy this.”

While sealing promotion against Wigan was a massive moment, Shackell will forever be remembered as a goalscorer in the key 2-1 win at Blackburn last month - Burnley’s first victory over the enemy in 35 years, and he smiled: “The Blackburn win, just in general, was incredible because we hadn’t beaten them for so long, so it was really nice to get the goal that turned the tide and Ingsy finished them off.

“That was an incredible game, but this has got to be up there, the celebrations after - you can just tell what it means to everybody and what it means to the players as well.”